Project SMILE!
We did it
On 22nd July 2020 we successfully raised £342 ( + est. £15.00 Gift Aid ) with 7 supporters in 41 days

Helping Seniors manage being on their own with our telephone befriending service.

by Good Neighbours in Tunbridge Wells, England, United Kingdom

We've been helping Seniors stay active, involved and independent in our area for over 15 years.

Until the pandemic hit, we did this through our Befriending and Falls Prevention Services.

Now everything has changed both for us and our clients. 

Sadly, we can't visit clients or run classes for the foreseeable future. 

The good news is that we have successfully switched face to face contact and got our telephone befriending service up and running. 

180 Seniors who can't get out & about because of social isolation are being supported by a team of 35 volunteers and 1.5 office staff.

So many of our Seniors are finding it really challenging to stay indoors and keep safe. It isn't easy for those who were regularly going out and about to suddenly be shut in. 

However, our telephone calls are making a real difference.

We have been called on to support for several clients who are elderly, without family support and not online.  

We have arranged telephone banking to be set up, hearing aid and medical support amongst other things providing a lifeline to clients who call on our services.

For example

One client who lost their partner two years ago, lives alone and has no one to talk to. Our volunteer's weekly call  makes all the difference and they now look forward to more regular calls.

Another client who also lives alone with no children or other family is so grateful  we were able to sort out their weekly shopping and really appreciates the calls made. 

For another client we have been able to sort out the collection of their regular medication from the pharmacy. 

But when's this lockdown going to end for our Seniors?

Clients who were coming to the Falls Prevention classes are missing the challenge of exercises and their fellow classmates who are a great circle of friends they have made. A constant theme is 'When are you going to restart classes again? '

With our volunteers we are keeping our clients active and motivated. In addition to the regular phone calls, we have sent out two newsletters giving general items of interest, ideas for keeping healthy with an exercise sheet and included a list of important contact numbers. And at one of the classes, a client would regularly contribute a joke of the week, so we finished our last newsletter with a few of these jokes, like: 

Why did the turkey cross the road? 

To prove he wasn't a chicken...!!

From the telephone calls and cards I have received, I know this is helping to make a very real difference to our clients. 

However, the suspension of our regular programmes impacts the charity in many ways, not least financially.

Good Neighbours has put some staff on furlough but we still need to pay the monthly bills

With your help, we are looking to raise £5,000 to help meet one month's core costs. This will  includes staff wages and overheads, including rent. 

All of this will enable us to continue supporting socially isolated Seniors.

Donations of any amount will be really appreciated, either through this portal or if it is easier to donate online, please visit our website 

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